Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Hiltz to attend England’s Mission to Seafarers’ Christmas service

Posted on: October 17th, 2016 by CEP Administrator No Comments


By Gavin Drake/ACNS on October, 17 2016


Archbishop Fred Hiltz describes the invitation to take part in the annual Christmas carol service for seafarers as “a deep honour.”  Photo: The General Synod/Anglican Church of Canada

Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, will visit London, England, in December to take part in the Mission to Seafarers’ annual Christmas carol service. This year’s service will be followed by a celebratory reception to mark the Anglican mission agency’s 160th anniversary. The service, at the mission’s home church – St Michael Paternoster Royal in the City of London – will take the form of a Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols.

The service will include prayers of thanksgiving for people who live and work at sea; and conclude with a champagne reception at the Skinners Hall – home of one of the City of London’s historic livery companies – to conclude a year of celebrations of 160 years of Christian service to the seafaring community across the world.

Born in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Hiltz has lived near the Atlantic Ocean for most of his life. He described the invitation to be a guest reader at the service as “a deep honour.”

“Canada remains a major seafaring nation, and we are deeply proud of our Canadian Missions to Seafarers, which form an integral part of the global Mission to Seafarers’ family network,” he said. “With Mission to Seafarers’ stations located in the ports of St John’s, Nfld., Vancouver, Toronto, Oshawa, Hamilton, Halifax, Thunder Bay, Windsor, Lasalle, Sarnia and Saint John, our teams are dedicated to providing help and hope in times of need.”

The Mission to Seafarers is held in high esteem by the international maritime community and the service and reception is sponsored by industry specialists Ince & Co, the worldwide business and finance lawyers, as well as BP Global and Harris Pye Engineering.


Anglican Journal News, October 17, 2016

Hiltz: Church unity is ‘for the sake of the world’

Posted on: October 14th, 2016 by CEP Administrator No Comments

By André Forget on October, 13 2016

Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, meets the Pope after the ecumenical vespers at the Basilica of San Gregorio al Celio Oct. 5. Photo: Servizio Fotografico L’Osservatore Romano

Since their inception 50 years ago, ecumenical dialogues between Roman Catholic and Anglican churches have often focussed on arcane points of doctrinal similarity and difference.

But there is a growing desire in both churches to see unity as more than an end in itself, said Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, reflecting on his recent trip to Rome.

“The unity of the church is not for the church itself, and if it is, we might as well stop talking,” Hiltz said in an interview. “The unity of the church has to be in the interest of a common and faithful and united witness to the gospel, and the gospel is clearly for the world.”

Hiltz travelled to Italy October 4-6 as part of a delegation of Anglican primates and bishops led by Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Anglican Centre in Rome. It was his first time in Rome, and his first time meeting Pope Francis, whose work he admires and often quotes.

“It was an amazing experience,” Hiltz said, noting how impressed he was by the pontiff’s humility and grace.

He recalled one particular moment, when Welby and Francis had just entered the courtyard of a church and were about to proceed into an ecumenical service together when there was a burst of applause. Assuming it was for the Pope, Welby stepped back. Francis, however, gestured for him to continue to walk should to shoulder with him.

“[Francis’] first words to Justin Welby when Justin made his first visit to Rome were, ‘we must walk together,’” Hiltz explained. “There is such integrity to the man—you know, we must walk together literally as well as figuratively.”

The leaders of both churches later exchanged gifts. Welby received a crosier modelled after the one given by Pope Gregory the Great to Augustine, the first Archbishop of Canterbury, in 595. In return, he gave Francis his trademark pectoral cross of nails.

During the visit he was also struck by the comparison between the current Archbishop of Canterbury and the Pope—both of whom are similarly interested in the practical ways the church can shape the world—and their predecessors, Rowan Williams and Benedict XVI, who were more scholarly and contemplative in their approach.

“Justin and Francis have a very different style [from Rowan and Benedict],” he said. “It is very relational, and it is very, if I can put it this way, worldly. When they talk about unity, they always talk about it, really, for the sake of our common witness in a world of division and a world of great tragedy.”

It was a point underscored by the joint declaration signed by both leaders on October 5, which highlighted common views on issues like poverty and the refugee crisis.

But the service leading up to the signing of the joint declaration was only one part of the three-day trip.

In addition to touring the Anglican Centre, which serves thousands of pilgrims every year, the bishops participated in a colloquium of Anglican and Roman Catholic theologians discussing the history and future of ecumenical dialogue between the churches.

Hiltz said one of the most stimulating talks was by the Rev. Étienne Vetö, a Roman Catholic priest from France, on the future of the Anglican and Roman Catholic Churches.

Vetö noted that in the next 50 years, both churches would be facing similar changes. For example, in addition to issues around gender inclusion, Anglicans and Catholics will both have to adapt to a change in the centre of gravity away from traditional European cities like Rome, Canterbury and Geneva and toward metropolises in the Global South like Buenos Aires, Manila and Mombasa.

While Hiltz found Vetö’s points compelling, he said he was left wondering what Jerusalem’s role in the global church will be.

“It would be interesting to see what the relationships between places like Canterbury and Rome, 50 years down the road, what will their relationship with Jerusalem itself look like?” he said, noting he would also like to know more about what, if any, relationship the Anglican Centre in Rome has to Jerusalem.

Hiltz noted that the bishops also learned a little more about the future direction the ecumenical dialogues will be taking. While questions about the doctrinal differences between the churches remain important, the dialogues themselves are shifting to discussions about how the churches could “live out” the statements of agreement they already have.

Hiltz added that the Anglican and Roman Catholic ecumenical dialogues are shifting away from doctrine to discussions about how the churches could “live out” the statements of agreement they already have.

This shift comes at a time, however, when points that both churches once agreed on relating to marriage have collided.

For example, the Anglican Church of Canada’s move toward solemnizing the marriages of same-sex couples puts it at odds with Roman Catholic teachings on marriage. However, Hiltz said it was not an issue that came up for him or for any of the leaders of provinces that have made similar decisions.

“There was no kind of public calling into question the integrity of the Canadian church, or The Episcopal Church, or the Scottish Episcopal Church,” he said. “The focus was elsewhere.”

He acknowledged that this topic might have been discussed in the meeting of the bishops who are part of the International Anglican Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission (IARCCUM), which took place during the delegation’s visit. Bishop Dennis Drainville was the Canadian representative at this IARCCUM meeting, but was unavailable for comment at press time.

Hiltz said that one of the themes that emerged from the conference was the sense that “ecumenism has to be built on relationships…if it is built on relationship, then it is not what I bring to the table to correct you, it is what do I have to learn from you, and what do you have to learn from me?”

This approach, called “receptive ecumenism,” highlights differences between denominations not to try and overcome them, but to learn from them, he said.

For example, Hiltz said that one of the things Catholic theologians identified as an area where they could learn from Anglicans is the inclusion of laity in conciliar structures and electing new bishops. Their Anglican counterparts, on the other hand, said the Communion might be able to learn something from Catholicism’s non-parliamentary approach to decision-making to strengthen the instruments of communion.

In addition to discussing the current status of unity between the two churches there were also practical expressions of it, according to Hiltz.

On the night of October 5, ecumenical vespers were held at the Basilica of San Gregorio al Celio, where the choirs of the Sistine Chapel and Canterbury Cathedral sang together. During the service, 19 pairs of Anglican and Catholic bishops were commissioned for united mission. The next day, they were presented with Lampedusa crosses during a service at San Francesco Saverio del Caravita.

Named after an island between Sicily and Tunisia, Lampedusa crosses are made of wood from the wreckage of boats carrying migrants and refugees that capsized between North Africa and Europe in 2013.

Hiltz said the crosses were given “as a reminder to us of our call to unity and mission, and that mission is for the sake of the world, and the suffering peoples of the world.”

For him, it was yet another reminder that ecumenical dialogue is not only a matter of discussing doctrine.

“What is the point of our unity?” he asked, letting the question hang in the air. “Is it for the sake of the church alone, or is it for the sake of the world and a common witness to the gospel?”

About the Author

André Forget

André Forget

André Forget joined the Anglican Journal in 2014 as staff writer and social media lead. He also serves as managing editor of Whether Magazine, and his writing has appeared in The Dalhousie Review, The Winnipeg Review, and the Town Crier.


Anglican Journal News, October 13, 2016

Canadian Anglican to head Cambridge University

Posted on: October 11th, 2016 by CEP Administrator No Comments

By Tali Folkins on October 11, 2016

Stephen Toope, who is currently director of the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs, is set to become vice-chancellor of the University of Cambridge Oct. 1, 2017.

A Canadian Anglican has been chosen to head one of the world’s most prestigious universities.Stephen Toope, who has served on a number of high-profile church bodies, was recently nominated as vice-chancellor of the University of Cambridge, according to U of T News. Assuming the appointment will be approved by the university’s governing body, Toope will begin in his new role Oct. 1, 2017. He will be the 346th vice-chancellor in the university’s 800-year history, and is believed to be the first non-Briton to serve in the position.

Toope, who is currently director of the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs,  said he was completely surprised when he received the offer, unaware the university had even been searching for someone to fill the post.

A Cambridge alumnus—he completed a PhD there in 1987—Toope told U of T News he was excited to be returning as an administrator. “I had a wonderful time when I was at Cambridge,” he said. “It was extremely rewarding and the university’s ability to attract people from all around the globe was apparent every day.”

Ian White, master of Jesus College, Cambridge, and the head of the search team, said Toope had been chosen because he has “impeccable academic credentials, a longstanding involvement with higher education, strong leadership experience and an excellent research background.”

Toope obtained a bachelor’s degree in English literature and European history from Harvard University, and then did two law degrees at McGill University before studying at Cambridge. He has served as dean of law at McGill University, president of the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation, and president and vice-chancellor of the University of British Columbia.

Toope has also served on a number of church and secular bodies. He was a member of a task force on the church’s future in an increasingly secular world led by then-primate Archbishop Michael Peers. He advised the diocese of New Westminster on canon law when it was considering blessing same-sex unions, and also served as chair of the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF) Committee. He was chair of the United Nations Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances, fact-finder for the Maher Arar commission, and helped create the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples in Canada. He was named an officer of the Order of Canada in 2015.

Toope’s father was a priest, and his mother served for a time as secretary of their parish. In a 2015 interview, Toope told the Anglican Journal he felt his Anglican upbringing probably played a role in his later interest in justice.

“It’s always hard to tease out where these things come from, but both of my parents—the church was their life,” he said. “I always sang in the choir; it was always part of daily life. The values you imbue, they become part of you.”

About the Author

Tali Folkins

Tali Folkins

Tali Folkins has worked as a staff reporter for the Law Times and the New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal.  His writing has appeared in The Globe and Mail and The United Church Observer.


Anglican Journal News, October 11, 2016

Community of St Anselm welcomes new members for its second-year

Posted on: October 10th, 2016 by CEP Administrator No Comments

Posted on: October 3, 2016

Archbishop Justin hands out crosses to new members of the Community of St Anselm.
Photo Credit: Marc Gascoigne / Lambeth Palace

[ACNS, by Gavin Drake] The new members of the Community of St Anselm, the international new-monastic community for young people based at Lambeth Palace, have been commissioned by the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby. The Community of St Anselm provides an opportunity for young people aged 20 to 35 to “spend a year in God’s time” in a residential and non-residential new-monastic community with a shared rule of life focused on prayer, study and service to the most vulnerable in society.

On Friday, Archbishop Welby commissioned 15 international residents, who will live at Lambeth Palace in London for the next 10 months; and twenty-one non-residents who will combine their life in the community with their other responsibilities to work, family and church. The service also saw the re-commissioning of seven non-resident members from the community’s first year who will continue their commitment for another year.

The new members of the community in its second year come from places as diverse as the UK, US, Europe, Zimbabwe, Mexico, South Africa and India. “They also represent a wide variety of church streams and denominations, from Anglican and Episcopal to United Reformed, Methodist, Lutheran, New Frontiers, Orthodox and Roman Catholic,” a spokesperson for Lambeth Palace said.

“The Community of St Anselm very deliberately takes people from all over the world, with their cultural differences and personality differences,” Archbishop Welby said in a sermon. “It deliberately takes bits of the disunited church. It takes all these different factions and fragments and it’s an experiment to see if together we can live in unity, because we are in the vine – because we abide in the vine.”

In his sermon, the archbishop said that adopting the Benedictine monastic practice of “placing yourself under discipline” is “extraordinarily counter-cultural”. But, he said, “if we are going to call ourselves disciples of Jesus Christ, we start by saying I accept the sovereignty of God. There is no other way of being a disciple.”

The Prior of the Community of St Anselm, the Revd Anders Litzell, said that the community had “been established to serve Archbishop Justin’s call for a renewal of prayer and religious life across the Church.

“The new members are today making a commitment to a shared rule of life that is about shaping our whole beings in response to God’s radical grace in Jesus Christ.

“We trust that the experience will transform these young lives to reflect the beauty of God’s holiness with irrepressible integrity. And we pray that they will go on to help transform our world through self-giving in their local, national and international communities.”


Anglican Communion News Service, Daily update from the ACNS  on Monday 3 October 2016

Anglican, Catholic co-operation continues despite differences

Posted on: October 8th, 2016 by CEP Administrator No Comments

By André Forget on October, 06 2016

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby’s meeting with Pope Francis marks 50 years of ecumenical dialogue meant to foster a closer relationship between the Anglican Communion and the Roman Catholic Church.
Photo: Vatican Television

While the decision by some provinces in the Anglican Communion to accept the ordination of women and same-sex marriage have posed new obstacles to formal unity between Anglicans and Roman Catholics, a common declaration issued by Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and Pope Francis October 5 reaffirmed their commitment to ecumenical work.

“While…we ourselves do not see solutions to the obstacles before us, we are undeterred,” the declaration says. “We are confident that dialogue and engagement with one another will deepen our understanding and help us to discern the mind of Christ for his church.”

The declaration was issued during a visit to Rome by Welby and a delegation of Anglican primates and bishops to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Anglican Centre in Rome.

Established in 1966 by Pope Paul VI and then-Archbishop of Canterbury Michael Ramsey, the Anglican Centre was one of a series of initiatives intended to draw the two churches closer together.

Welby and Francis highlighted the progress that has been made in the intervening decades, and praised bodies such as the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) for bringing theologians from both denominations together to examine the issues that have historically divided the two churches.

While they conceded that “serious obstacles” to full unity remain—including the “perennial question about how authority is exercised in the Christian community”—they stressed that “much progress has been made concerning many areas that have kept us apart.”

The declaration also affirmed that their differences neither “prevent us from recognizing one another as brothers and sisters in Christ” nor “lead to a lessening of our ecumenical endeavours.”

Among these, Welby and Francis highlighted the importance of their two churches expressing their shared faith by speaking with a united voice on pressing social issues, such as environmental degradation, poverty and religiously motivated violence.

“The world must see us witnessing to this common faith in Jesus by acting together,” the declaration says. “Our Christian faith leads us to recognize the inestimable worth of every human life, and to honour it in acts of mercy by bringing education, healthcare, food, clean water and shelter and always seeking to resolve conflict and build peace.”

The declaration, delivered at the Church of Saint Gregory, was part of a service in which 19 pairs of Anglican and Roman Catholic bishops selected by the International Anglican Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission (IARCCUM) were “sent out” to work together on mission in their native countries.

Representing Canada were Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, and Bishop Dennis Drainville, of the diocese of Quebec.

Drainville was paired with the Catholic Bishop of Victoria Gary Gordon to work together on ecumenical ministry in Canada.


About the Author

André Forget

André Forget

André Forget joined the Anglican Journal in 2014 as staff writer and social media lead. He also serves as managing editor of Whether Magazine, and his writing has appeared in The Dalhousie Review, The Winnipeg Review, and the Town Crier.


Anglican Journal News, October 07, 2016

Primate calls for national Native gathering

Posted on: October 7th, 2016 by CEP Administrator No Comments

By André Forget on October, 06 2016

Archbishop Fred Hiltz (right) says he hopes to organize the national Indigenous event with National Indigenous Anglican Bishop Mark MacDonald (left). File photo: Art Babych

Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, has called for a nationwide meeting to assess the progress made since Indigenous Anglicans first declared their intention to work toward self-determination in the 1994 Covenant.“It is time, I think…for us to convene some kind of a gathering in [2017], which will really bring together people from all across the church who are interested in and committed to Indigenous Anglican ministries,” he said, adding that he hopes to organize the gathering jointly with National Indigenous Anglican Bishop Mark MacDonald.

According to Hiltz, the gathering would be an opportunity for Anglicans to share about the work that is being done across the country, and perhaps learn from what has worked and what hasn’t.

The announcement was made at the September 22-27 meeting of the House of Bishops, in Winnipeg.

It comes on the heels of an Indigenous ministries presentation at July’s General Synod outlining some of the features and qualities of a self-determining nationwide Indigenous “confederacy.”

Hiltz reported that while the House of Bishops is supportive of the direction Indigenous ministries is going in, “nobody is really clear as to what the model will be” for such a confederacy.

For this reason, he wants the consultation to be as broad and practical as possible.

“I want to bring together people from all across the church—bishops clergy and laity, Indigenous and non-Indigenous—who have a heart for this, and not only have got a heart for it, but have a hand, to say: ‘So what are we going to do about this in our diocese?’ ” he said.

He noted that while funding has not yet been secured for such a gathering, he has spoken with General Synod’s general secretary, Archdeacon Michael Thompson, about the matter.

About the Author

André Forget

André Forget

André Forget joined the Anglican Journal in 2014 as staff writer and social media lead. He also serves as managing editor of Whether Magazine, and his writing has appeared in The Dalhousie Review, The Winnipeg Review, and the Town Crier.


Anglican Journal News, October 07, 2016

Primate responds to dissenting bishops

Posted on: October 6th, 2016 by CEP Administrator No Comments

By André Forget on October, 03 2016

Archbishop Fred Hiltz defends the process that brought the same-sex marriage decision to General Synod 2016, in a letter addressed to dissenting bishops. Photo: André Forget

In a written response to a statement issued by seven Canadian bishops expressing their dissent from General Synod’s decision to move toward solemnizing same-sex marriages, Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, pushed back against several of the points they had raised.

While he affirmed the bishops’ commitment to offer “pastoral care and loving service to all irrespective of sexual orientation,” he noted that for many LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning) Anglicans, “pastoral care” would include the solemnization of their marriages—which the bishops have expressly said they will not do. “For me, my brothers, the question you ask is really a question for all members of the church. To what extent can we and will we make room for one another? To what extent will we pastorally accommodate one another?” Hiltz said in his letter.

Hiltz’s response is dated August 5, but it became public following its distribution to the House of Bishops in advance of its September 22-27 meeting in Winnipeg. The Anglican Journal obtained a copy of the letter after a request was made to the primate’s office.

Hiltz also challenged their claim that the resolution, which contains a conscience clause, “does not provide adequate protection for the consciences of dioceses, clergy and congregations.” He asked the bishops to explain what such protection would look like, and how it would apply for those in their dioceses who are in favour of same-sex marriage.

He defended the process leading up to the same-sex marriage vote July 11, which narrowly passed the first of two readings (the second will take place in 2019) and took issue with the bishops’ claim that the “entire process” leading up to the vote was “flawed,” and had “inflicted terrible hurt and damage on all involved.”

He argued that Council of General Synod (CoGS), which had been given responsibility for crafting the resolution allowing for the marriage of same-sex couples in the church after a resolution passed at General Synod 2013, had taken “considerable care” and done its work “thoroughly.”

Hiltz added that, in his opinion, the discussion of the resolution at General Synod 2016 had been well-organized, with provisions made for those who wished to abstain from the vote altogether.

Hiltz also noted that though the vote itself, which was originally declared to have failed before being reversed the next day due to the discovery of an error, was “difficult,” it had allowed many synod members to “experience the pain of another whose view on this matter is very different” in a “very powerful way.”

The primate assured the bishops that the question of what the church should do pastorally, prophetically and structurally following the vote is one he is taking very seriously. He said he intends to publish the notes from small-group discussions on this subject that took place following the vote, and these would serve as the basis for further discussions at CoGS and House of Bishops.

But there were also points on which Hiltz concurred with the bishops.

He affirmed their condemnation of “homophobic prejudice and violence,” and sympathized with their frustration over the use of a legislative process to make decisions about theological and pastoral issues. But while he stated his desire for “less confrontational, and less hurtful” ways of decision-making, he placed the onus on the bishops to delineate what that might look like.

He shared their concern over the decision made by some bishops to proceed with same-sex marriages ahead of 2019, but said he has “no canonical authority to prohibit bishops from taking such action.” Hiltz said he would nonetheless “encourage a conversation in the House of Bishops about patience with the due process of General Synod…”

Hiltz also told the bishops he has spoken with the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, about General Synod’s decision and the concerns they have raised, and assured Welby that he would address the issue “as comprehensively as I can.

The dissenting bishops’ statement was released July 15, just days after General Synod came to an end. It was signed by Bishop Stephen Andrews, of the diocese of Algoma; Bishop David Parsons, of the diocese of the Arctic, Suffragan Bishop Darren McCartney, also of the diocese of the Arctic; Bishop William Anderson, of the diocese of Caledonia; Bishop Larry Robertson, of the diocese of Yukon; Bishop Fraser Lawton, of the diocese of Athabasca; and Bishop Michael Hawkins of the diocese of Saskatchewan.

Bishop David Edwards, of the diocese of Fredericton, was not an original signatory, but he added his name to the statement later.

Efforts were made to contact several of the bishops who had signed, but at press time, none were willing to comment. Hawkins did, however, note that the signatories would issue a formal response in the coming year. In an interview, Hiltz said he was willing to meet with the bishops about their concerns.


About the Author

André Forget

André Forget

André Forget joined the Anglican Journal in 2014 as staff writer and social media lead. He also serves as managing editor of Whether Magazine, and his writing has appeared in The Dalhousie Review, The Winnipeg Review, and the Town Crier.


Anglican Journal News, October 04, 2016

Bishops shift focus from same-sex marriage to mission

Posted on: September 30th, 2016 by CEP Administrator No Comments

By André Forget on September, 30 2016

The Rev. Vincent Solomon, urban Indigenous ministry developer for the diocese of Rupert’s Land, gives members of the House of Bishops and their spouses a tour of the Oodena Celebration Circle at the Forks, in Winnipeg. Photo: Bishop Mary Irwin-Gibson

After three years spent in intense debate over a resolution to allow the marriage of same-sex couples, the House of Bishops intends to shift its focus to “evangelism and discipleship and mission” in the next triennium, says Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, following the house’s September 22-27 meeting in Winnipeg.“In the last number of years…the vast majority of our time in meetings was consumed by conversations about same-sex marriage,” said Hiltz in an interview. “And the bishops are saying, ‘We’ve just got to have a more balanced agenda.’ ”

Bishop Mary Irwin-Gibson, of the diocese of Montreal, agreed, saying in an interview that the same-sex marriage debate has taken up “way too much airtime” in recent years. She said she hopes the house can “get on with the mission of the church” by making it “more vital and adept” at creating disciples.

It was a point Archbishop John Privett, metropolitan of the ecclesiastical province of British Columbia and the Yukon, also agreed with.

“There are huge questions about how we continue to grow disciples in these times and reflect more deeply on the mission of our church,” he noted. “I am hoping that in the next three years we will have some energy and focus and time for that.”

However, since it was the first meeting of bishops following July’s General Synod, Hiltz said they spent the bulk of their time debriefing synod and the fallout resulting from the provisional approval of the motion allowing same-sex marriage.

When the motion was originally declared to have been defeated, several bishops had announced they would go ahead with same-sex marriage. When the vote was reversed the next day following discovery of an error, these bishops said they would stand by their decision.

Days later, seven bishops signed a statement publicly dissenting from General Synod’s same-sex marriage vote. The church’s three Indigenous bishops also released a separate statement criticizing the vote.

For these reasons, many of the bishops admitted to being unsure as to how their meeting would turn out.

“I expected that there would be some real tensions in the house,” said Privett. “But my experience was that the conversation was respectful and…it was a very healthy engagement.”

While each bishop was given the opportunity to speak their mind, Hiltz said there was a general consensus that the matter now rests with the individual dioceses and provinces to continue the discussion in advance of 2019, when the motion will be sent for second and final consideration.

“There is nothing more that the bishops need or necessarily ought to be saying [about same-sex marriage] at this point, not as a house,” he explained. “In fact…I just don’t know that it would be helpful.”

Hiltz said no attempt was made to place a moratorium on same-sex marriages until after the second vote in 2019. What he heard from some bishops who announced their intention to allow same-sex marriages in their dioceses was that such marriages could happen, but as an “interim pastoral provision” that would require “the bishop’s knowledge and permission.” The bishop would also have to authorize a rite to be used to solemnize the union since the current liturgies, in the Book of Common Prayer and the Book of Alternative Services, cannot be used until the marriage canon is formally amended.

When asked how this arrangement was received by the house, Hiltz said, “I didn’t see any major reaction. No blow-up, no pushback.” He said that the bishops understood this as a pastoral provision.

“The majority of the bishops are indicating and quite prepared to live within the timelines of the process of General Synod,” he said. Bishops also stressed that they would be “very committed to upholding the conscience clause,” which means that no one will be compelled to marry anybody, he added.

When asked how she would treat the issue in her diocese, Irwin-Gibson said that if the need arose, she would consider allowing same-sex marriages to take place before 2019, but only in specific circumstances.

While she is willing to consider authorizing a service for “active members of a congregation who want to be married in a church,” she is not interested in marrying couples who simply want the aesthetic of a church marriage.

“I’m interested in marriage as a Christian avenue of discipleship,” she explained.

Bishop Larry Robertson, of the diocese of Yukon, on the other hand, said he can discern little will among his people for continued discussion of same-sex marriage. He noted that his diocese has studied the issue on two different occasions, and it has only caused division in his parishes.

For this reason, Robertson said he will put a moratorium on discussions of same-sex marriage during Sunday morning services, and request that his clergy include him in any discussions about same-sex marriage that occur in their parishes.

Meanwhile, Hiltz said he has sent a letter to the bishops who dissented from General Synod’s action and has expressed his willingness to meet with them. “They are, I think, hoping to have some time to think about they might respond to my letter…We’ve agreed that when they’ve had that time, and have made a more formal response to me, that we will meet.”

Another theme of the meeting, according to a number of bishops contacted by the Anglican Journal, was the desire to create a more functional house over the next triennium.

All the bishops noted that there are deep disagreements between members of the house across a range of theological and social issues, but many also held out hope that these disagreements could be managed better.

“How do we live with difference?” was a question raised by many bishops, said National Indigenous Anglican Bishop Mark MacDonald.

Archbishop Greg Kerr-Wilson, metropolitan of the ecclesiastical province of Rupert’s Land, said he heard a number of his peers express frustration with voting as a way of arriving at a decision.

“I think there is certainly a will not to get into those kind of up-down, yes-no votes,” he said, while acknowledging that he doesn’t know what an alternate system might look like or even if it is possible.

Robertson—who has been a vocal critic of the legislative system as a way of making decisions about same-sex marriage—echoed these concerns, but cautioned that because the legislative process has begun, it must be carried through to its completion.

Hiltz explained that from his perspective, one of the problems with the House of Bishops’ process in the past has been that while bishops are good at listening to each other, engaging each other is a different matter.

“You can be so intent on a commitment to listen that you actually then don’t have time for that next step, which is response, engagement, conversation, discerning together,” he said, holding up the Indaba process that has been used to discuss divisive issues in the past as a good model.

As is the custom of the house, the September meeting, being the first of a new triennium, included a parallel meeting of the bishops’ spouses. It also included a number of activities that allowed the bishops and their partners to learn about their host city of Winnipeg, such as a tour of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights and the National Research Centre for Truth and Reconciliation.

Hiltz acknowledged that the presence of the bishops’ spouses and the venue (the meeting was held in a hotel instead of a retreat centre) offered more “opportunities for conversations,” which helped the meeting. “We did not leave that meeting of the House of Bishops in disarray at all, from my point of view. And I think a number of bishops would agree with that.”

Kerr-Wilson said the presence of spouses helped set the tone of the bishops’ conversations, which he described as being “very honest and frank, and also very respectful.”

MacDonald added, “We’re all committed to working with one another, and I think that’s positive.”

Hiltz said there was also “a very good spirit” at the closing Eucharist, which, in contrast to the one at General Synod boycotted by some bishops, was attended by everyone who was present.  (Some bishops had left early due to other obligations).


– With additional reporting by Tali Folkins 


About the Author

André Forget

André Forget

André Forget joined the Anglican Journal in 2014 as staff writer and social media lead. He also serves as managing editor of Whether Magazine, and his writing has appeared in The Dalhousie Review, The Winnipeg Review, and the Town Crier.


Anglican Journal News, September 30, 2016

Archbishop Justin Welby and Pope Francis celebrate closer Anglican-Catholic relationship

Posted on: September 30th, 2016 by CEP Administrator No Comments

Posted on: September 30, 2016

Archbishop Justin Welby and Pope Francis will hold their third formal meeting next week in Rome
Photo Credit: Lambeth Palace

[ACNS, by Gavin Drake] The historic first public meeting between a Pope and an Archbishop of Canterbury since the Reformation, which took place 50 years ago in Rome, will be celebrated by the current Pope and Archbishop when they meet next week in Rome. It was a milestone in ecumenical relations when Archbishop Michael Ramsey paid an official visit to Pope Paul VI in 1966. The visit sent shockwaves around the world when Pope Paul presented Archbishop Ramsey with his episcopal ring. Next week’s meeting between Pope Francis and Archbishop Justin will be the third meeting between the pair – a sign of how normal the relationship between the two churches have become.

The relationship between the two churches had been thawing in advance of the 1966 meeting. In 1960 Archbishop Geoffrey Fisher paid a private visit to Pope John XXIII in Rome; and the following year Canon Bernard Pawley was appointed as the Archbishops of Canterbury’s and York’s representative to the Holy See. Anglicans were invited to observe the Second Vatican Council, when it met from 1962 to 1965; and it was felt that “a formal line of contact needed to be put in place.”

In 1996, while in Rome for that first public meeting, Archbishop Michael opened the Anglican Centre in Rome – a permanent Anglican presence which has provided a formal link between the two churches for the past 50 years.

At the same time, Pope Paul and Archbishop Michael issued a common declaration in which they agreed “to inaugurate a serious dialogue . . . which, founded on the Gospels and the ancient common tradition, may lead to the unity for which Christ prayed.” That led to the creation the Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission (Arcic), which was responsible for theological conversations between the two churches.

In 2000, Archbishop George Carey and Cardinal Edward Cassidy, the then President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, convoked a conference of Anglican and Roman Catholic bishops to discern the progress made in theological conversations, and whether closer co-operation could be developed between the two traditions. That was the beginning of the International Anglican-Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission (Iarccum).

The 50 years of “closer and deeper relationships” between the Anglican Communion and the Roman Catholic Church is being celebrated in a week-long summit beginning today in Canterbury and ending next Friday in Rome. The summit will involve 19 pairs of Anglican and Roman Catholic bishops from around the world who have been selected by Iarccum to “work together in joint mission” and to “look ahead to opportunities for greater unity.”

The Anglican and Roman Catholic bishops will take part in Evensong at Canterbury Cathedral tomorrow afternoon (Saturday). Later, tomorrow evening, the cathedral’s undercroft will be the venue for a historic Catholic Vigil Mass.

During the week, the bishops will be making presentations about the pastoral challenges in their dioceses, their own experiences and their hopes for the way forward. These presentations will inform the discussions which will follow. They will hold a private meeting with Archbishop Welby on Sunday morning.

Next week, the 19 pairs of bishops will be commissioned by Archbishop Justin and Pope Francis at a service in the monastery church of San Gregorio al Cielo on Wednesday afternoon (5 October). The service will feature the Sistine Chapel Choir and the choir of Canterbury Cathedral.

The first Archbishop of Canterbury, St Augustine, was the prior of the monastery of San Gregorio before being sent by the Pope to evangelise England in 597. Earlier this year, San Gregorio sent its ancient relic, the head of the crozier of St Gregory the Great, to Canterbury for the Primates’ Gathering and Meeting in a symbol of prayer and support for the Archbishop and the Anglican Communion.

On Thursday (6 October), Archbishop Welby will have a private meeting with Pope Francis ahead of a series of meetings with bishops and Vatican officials. As a “mark of their deep friendship and respect”, he will wear the episcopal ring that Pope Paul VI presented to Archbishop Michael in 1966.

The summit will also mark the 50th anniversary of the Anglican Centre in Rome. Archbishop Justin will host a dinner in Rome to celebrate five decades of “promoting Christian unity in a divided world.”

“The Anglican Centre has worked for fifty years to help Roman Catholics and Anglicans work together, pray together, study and talk together,” the present director, Archbishop David Moxon, said. “The journey we are on demands the laying-down of old fears and misconceptions of each other, and the building up of a shared story together. These celebrations mark the writing of a new chapter in the history of the Christian Church.”

The suffragan Bishop in Europe, David Hamid, is the Anglican co-chair of Iarccum. He stressed the enormous importance of the week, saying that “It is an immensely significant occasion.”

He added: “There has been such an extraordinary progress towards reconciliation between the two communions in these past fifty years that it is easy to forget just how far we have journeyed together as sisters and brothers in Christ. The common faith we have discovered through our years of dialogue now compels us to act together, sharing in Christ’s mission in the world.”


Anglican Communion News Service, Daily update from the ACNS on Friday 30 September 2016

Pray for war-ravaged Aleppo, asks primate

Posted on: September 29th, 2016 by CEP Administrator No Comments

By Tali Folkins on September, 29 2016

A Syrian Army tank stands between buildings during an operation September 2013 in the suburbs of Damascus. Photo: ART production/Shutterstock

Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, is asking Anglicans to join him in prayer for Aleppo, the Syrian city suffering from a recently stepped-up bombing campaign.In a statement released Thursday, September 29, Hiltz said he had received the previous day an urgent appeal for prayer for the people of the city. The primate began his statement by quoting this appeal.

“I am praying, in fact I am screaming at God to send his holy angels to protect the city. I rail at Him to please intervene,” the appeal read. Hiltz does not name the person who sent the appeal. The Journal has learned the person is a church member whose privacy is being respected.

The appeal for angelic help was timely, Hiltz said, given that September 29 is the Feast of St. Michael and All Angels.

“Accordingly, I am calling our Church to prayer for this ancient and once beautiful city, now besieged and lying in ruins,” Hiltz said.

Hiltz laments the hundreds of people killed in the bombing campaign, and the difficulties of providing help to people in the city, especially given recent attacks on aid convoys.

In early 2014, the UN said it would no longer attempt to estimate how many people had been killed in the conflict, because of the difficulty of reaching many parts of the country. Last March, however, Staffan de Mistura, the UN’s special envoy for Syria, said that by his own unofficial reckoning, the war must have claimed some 400,000 lives. In February, the Syrian Center for Policy Research, a non-governmental think tank, estimated 470,000 people had lost their lives either directly or indirectly as a result of the conflict, and that more than one in every 10 Syrians had been either killed or wounded.

The atrocities in Aleppo, Hiltz said, are for many people just one more episode in the war that has been plaguing the country for five years now—and the cause of much fear for anyone with family members living in the area.

“Is it any wonder that they are ‘screaming to God to send his holy angels to protect the city’?” the primate asks.

Hiltz then requests prayers for those affected by the fighting.

“On this day when we think of all those angels of whom we read in the Scriptures—all those who bow down before God in everlasting praise of his glory and then at his bidding come to the aid of those who call upon his mercy and justice, let us pray for the people of Aleppo,” he says. “Pray that legions of angels come to their protection and aid.”

The primate then asks for prayers for relief workers “for they themselves are angels working in the midst of great dangers.” And for the people responsible for the crimes against humanity committed in the war, Hiltz says, “Pray that by a visitation of angels their hearts be turned.”

The primate requests prayers, too, for those trying to negotiate peace in Syria.

Hiltz ends his statement with a request for prayers for the day when, in the words of the prophet Isaiah, “Violence shall no longer be heard in your land, devastation within your borders. You shall call your walls Salvation and your gates Praise” (Isaiah 60:18).


Anglican Journal News, September 29, 2016